The House of Representatives Committee on Justice on Wednesday warned the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) to dismantle the barrier it put up across Insular Prison Road in the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) reservation in Muntinlupa City or face charges.
Citing Section 3 (e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, Leyte Rep. Vicente Veloso, the committee’s chairperson, told a congressional hearing that the bureau “could not put up a barrier otherwise they could be charged for violating the law.”
“If you don’t demolish that, you could be charged before the Ombudsman and it could reach the Sandiganbayan,” Veloso added.
The committee conducted the congressional inquiry in response to a resolution filed by Muntinlupa Rep. Ruffy Biazon protesting the wall being built by the BuCor along Insular Prison Road.
In filing his resolution, Biazon said the construction of the wall was illegal and was a nuisance as defined by Article 694 of the Civil Code, as it obstructs and interferes with the free passage of a public highway or street.
“What is more alarming is that no proper coordination whatsoever was made with the City Government of Muntinlupa and the barangay prior to the implementation of this order from BuCor,” he said.
At the hearing, Veloso appealed to BuCor officials to “fix that in light of the plea of the residents there.”
“Congress would not want both parties to hurt each other,” he said.
In response, BuCor lawyer Randy Serrano appeared adamant.
Citing Section 6 (B) of Republic Act 10575 or the Bureau of Corrections Act of 2013, he said “BuCor shall have the absolute authority to design, formulate and implement land use development plans and policies.”
“One of the policies is to free the highly secured facility, which is considered or likened to a reservation camp or military camp. The law mentioned why BuCor has absolute authority…” Serrano said.
He stressed that the wall is a move “to maximize assets’ value for effective and extensive reformation for national inmates.”
But Serrano stressed the BuCor will continue coordinating its projects with the local government and abide by changes to the policies or the law.